“Beware of Scammers”, Warn Revenooers

Apparently taking note of ever-increasingly blatant tactics foisted upon we and thee by scammers, IRS recently issued a new warning to taxpayers.

These thieves, you see, pop up by telephone, emails and letters on authentic-looking letterhead, in an effort to trick taxpayers into providing personal financial information, or scare folks into making a payment to the criminal, ostensibly in settlement of the target’s delinquent tax account.

Seems the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) has received reports of something like 600,000 contacts by crooks with unsuspecting folk since October, 2013.  And further, TIGTA is aware of more than 4,000 victims who have collectively reported over $20 million in actual financial losses as a result of these tax scams!

Can you believe it?

Scammers posing as IRS agents initially targeted folks they thought would be the most vulnerable, like older people, recently-arrived immigrants and those who aren’t good at handling the English language.  But now, these scofflaws are doing things like altering the message which appears on your caller ID screen (making it seem more ‘official’), using fake names, titles and IRS badge numbers, and even copying official IRS letterhead for use in email or snail mail communications with we and thee!  Further, according to IRS, “brazen” scammers will even provide their victims with directions to the nearest bank or business where the victim can obtain a means of payment such as a debit card!  They often threaten police arrest, deportation,  or license revocation, calling with “urgent” call back requests.

Be assured, say the Revenooers, that they will never:

  • Angrily demand immediate payment over the phone without first having mailed you the appropriate written notice or bill.
  • Threaten to bring in local police to have you arrested.
  • Demand that you pay without giving you the chance to appeal their proposed assessment.
  • Require you to use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card.
  • Ask for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.

If you get targeted, call TIGTA and report the incident:  1-800-366-4484.  And

don’t hold your breath for a response, but call anyway!

CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters.  You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.

Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno.  He may be reached at 831-7288, and welcomes comments at jquinn@ashleyquinncpas.com.

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